Bryce Harper showed a ton of love for Kobe Bryant on his 42nd birthday, which was on Sunday. The Philadelphia Phillies star went to Instagram to post his attire for the game against the Atlanta Braves. To pay tribute to Bryant, who died in a helicopter crash with his daughter Gianna and seven other people, Harper revealed he was wearing a Bryant Black No. 8 jersey along with cleats and wristbands from the Lakers legend.
"Kobe Bryant was my hero growing up," Harper wrote on his Instagram post. "It was him and my pops. If Kobe was playing I was watching. The way he went about it was something that nobody else had. He was fiery, smart, clutch, and just better than everybody I believed. He worked his tail off each day and I tried to emulate his mentality in every sport I played."
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Harper went on to write that he was a "horrible basketball player," but every time he shot the ball, he would yell out "Kobe!" Harper then added that Bryant was a "flat out baller" and reflected on the first time he watched him play.
"He was so good on and off the court with all he did it seemed and was loved by so many including myself," Harper continued. "Thank you so much for the amazing ride you took us all on and sharing your talent and love for the sport with all of us. We are so lucky to have watched such greatness for so long. Kobe Happy Birthday brotha and Happy Mamba Day. You are missed by so many. 8 and 24 will live on forever!!"
Harper was not the only baseball player to pay tribute to Bryant on his birthday. Bryant became a big fan of the Los Angeles Dodgers since he played his entire career with the Lakers. On Sunday, the Dodgers players and coaches wore Bryant jerseys before their game against the Colorado Rockies.
Bryant was one of the most decorated athletes in sports history. Along with being an 18-time NBA All-Star, Bryant lead the Lakers to five NBA Championships from 2000-2010. He was named NBA Finals MVP twice (2009, 2010) and won the MVP award in 2008. Bryant was also an accomplished Olympic athlete as he won gold medals at the 2008 and 2012 games.